Hancock Congregational Church

The actual name of the location has been modified to protect the location from vandalism.

The Hancock Congregational Church was designed by famed architects, Otis A. Merrill and Arthur S. Cutler of Merrill & Cutler in the High Victorian ecclesiastical style and constructed in 1884. It involved the installation of terra cotta by H.A. Lewis, firestone masonry by I.G. Coughlan, granite by Sweatt & Davis, and other brickwork by Wilder Bennett. Fully furnished, including the pipe organ, the building cost $57,390. The church featured a façade gable flanked by brick piers and a three-story entrance bay. The western façade was finely finished with fully framed windows and a large pointed-arch window in the side gable while the eastern façade contained plain rectangular granite sills and lintels as it abutted buildings until the adjoining roadway was widened in 1914. The dates 1827 and 1884 were inscribed in an ornamented terra cotta band near the top of the gable. Inside was an amphitheater-plan sanctuary designed in the High Victorian Gothic style, with cherry wood and room for 600 seats. It remained a church until 1968, when the congregation merged with other churches in the area. After Hancock Congregational moved out of the church building, the complex was re-dedicated as the Isabella Community Center by the Acre Model Neighborhood Organization as part of the Model Cities Program on December 14, 1969. The city purchased the former church building in 1975 for $85,000. The building served as the city’s Senior Center until a new center opened in April 2003. It has remained vacant since that time. The city made attempts to sell the property in July 2011 to a private party with the goal to entice a developer to rehabilitate the building into a multi-purpose event venue; there was no bidders. The city tried to sell the former church again in 2015 and received a bid from The Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), who had planned to renovate the building and turn it into a community and performance center at the cost of $16.5 million. The CBA no longer owns the property and it continues to remain vacant with no plans for the beautiful former church.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s